Government to blame for baby Khwezi's death - Abahlali leader

2019-07-13 17:59
The charred remains of the shack in which baby Khwezi Mlingo died on Monday. (Musa Binda, GroundUp)

The charred remains of the shack in which baby Khwezi Mlingo died on Monday. (Musa Binda, GroundUp)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sbu Zikode, president of Abahlali BaseMjondolo, blamed the death of baby Khwezi Mlingo on government during her memorial service at the eNkanini informal settlement in Cato Manor on Friday, reports GroundUp.

Khwezi was killed on Monday in a shack fire, caused by a candle falling.

Zikode said the two-year-old would not have died if the government had ensured that shack dwellers were provided with electricity. He also said that, if shack dwellers had a proper water supply, the fire could have been put out quickly, saving Khwezi’s life.

Zikode noted that no officials from eThekwini Municipality had attended the memorial. He said that officials did come to the scene of Khwezi’s death on Wednesday, but expressed scepticism that any progress would come from it.

"They didn’t leave anything. It should sink in Bahlali [shack dwellers] that, in this country, we’re on our own.”

He warned shack dwellers to be extra careful during the winter season. He said winter was the period when fires occured because of increased use of candles and paraffin.

Neighbour Mlungisi Mokoena, who witnessed Khwezi’s shack burn, said he had smelt burning while he was inside his own shack. He said he got up and noticed that his neighbour’s shack was on fire. Khwezi was at home with two young siblings.

'Not seeing her outside the burning shack meant one thing'

Mokoena said he had called on neighbours to help put the fire out. They then noticed that Khwezi was nowhere to be seen.

"I asked the neighbours: "Where is the toddler?" They showed me Khwezi’s older siblings. With tears running down my face, I told them that there was a third child, a small one, and not seeing her outside the burning shack meant one thing, that she was inside the shack that was already up in flames," said Mokoena.

Khwezi’s grandmother, Nonkumbulo Mlingo, said the pain the family was going through was untold. She said she only had one daughter, Mbali — Khwezi’s mother — and when Khwezi was born she was grateful to have been blessed with a second "daughter".

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela told GroundUp that he was going to check with the disaster management unit to find out how their team had handled the visit to the scene.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed that Cato Manor police were investigating the incident.

GET THE NEWS at your fingertips and download the News24 app for Android here now. Get it for your iPhone here.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    durban  |  fires

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.